Lovebites' Miyako: 10 songs that changed my life

Lovebites guitarist Miyako
(Image credit: Press)

The chief shredder in Japanese power metal troupe LOVEBITES, Miyako knows a thing or two about epic, bombastic tunes. But while her band's latest album Judgement Day sees them "perfect the power metal recipe", what about her tastes beyond the world of massive guitar solos and fist-pumping choruses?

Hammer asked the guitarist to pick the ten records that changed her life - and as one would expect, the results are suitably epic. Here are her choices... 

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Metallica - Master Of Puppets (Master Of Puppets, 1986)

"Master Of Puppets is the first metal song that I learnt to play from beginning to end. Those riffs had me hooked! And it made me appreciate how great James Hetfield's downpicking is when I play along… my arm was tense that I’d get serious muscle pain the following day!"

Unearth - My Will Be Done (The March, 2008)

"When I got a seven-string, Unearth's My Will Be Done was the first song I learnt to play. I remember focusing so hard on the sweeping phrase at the start. I think this track is where my habit of adding tapping has come from. Before LOVEBITES was formed, I went to see Unearth in Japan and I have a fond memory of chatting with guitarist Ken Susi at a nearby bar afterwards."

Michael Jackson – Thriller (Thriller, 1982)

"The guitar riffs throughout Thriller are simple, but so memorable cool! Eddie Van Halen’s phrasing in the solo is also so cool! When I was a kid my mum would have this song playing at home, along with many others by Michael Jackson. In fact, if you listen closely to some LOVEBITES songs, you might be able to hear his influence."

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody (A Night At The Opera, 1975)

"This is another one that mum used to listen to. Ever since I was a kid I thought Freddie Mercury’s voice was unique. The way the band members’ vocals are layered is truly beautiful and it makes me want to writer operatic songs like his. Freddie Mercury as a pianist has also had a big impact on me. Actually, I went to see the Bohemian Rhapsody movie many times at the cinema, and I cried every time…"

Deep Purple - Burn (Burn, 1974)

"Burn is a classic! But it’s difficult to play. I really like the tone of Ritchie Blackmore’s Stratocaster. I used to think 'I want to be like Ritchie!' But then I saw he’d smash up his guitar on stage and I thought 'nah, I can’t be like Ritchie, I’d feel too sorry for the broken guitars…'. I also think the presence of two legendary singers, David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, really elevate this song to another level.

Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2 (Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory, 1999)

"I chose this one as I view the whole album as one song. Everything is so beautiful and artistic. This is the track that got me listening to prog metal. I use the John Petrucci’s signature wah pedal, and I also play piano and keyboard, so naturally I have respect for Jordan Rudess too. There is no doubt that Dream Theater has massively influenced me, both on guitar and the way I play keyboard."

Polyphia - Champagne (Muse, 2014)

"They play so well! This is not the easiest song to play along to, but the nuances of the guitar have left a big impression on me that I implement them in my own playing. It takes my breath away they’re able to emote so many feelings just from their guitars. For example, they show that you don’t need distortion and to play hard for a piece to be intense. Amazing."

All That Remains - This Calling (The Fall Of Ideals, 2006)

"This is the track that made me pay attention and think 'metalcore is cool!'. I remember going to see ATR when they came to Japan in 2011, I was so impressed by Phil Labonte’s ability to transition between growling and clean vocals – I couldn’t take my eyes off him the whole time. That was also the first time I saw a foreign band live in Japan."

Huey Lewis and the News - The Power of Love (Back To The Future soundtrack, 1985)

"I heard this in Back To The Future and thought it was so cool. I’d listen to it while walking or when I’m a bit tired but I have to go somewhere, and it’d instantly give me the energy to get going. Huey’s voice rocks and is so unique! It reminds me of the importance of a vocalist’s natural voice. I think our vocalist Asami also has a powerful and unique voice!"

Elton John - I'm Still Standing (Too Low For Zero, 1983)

"I came across this song for the first time in the film Sing. It has a lot of great songs from a number of genres, but I’m Still Standing really stood out to me. It cheers me up the moment I hear it. After this I started listening to more songs from Elton John. I think he’s another one-of-a-kind vocalist!"

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.